Marathon Series: Rod Bishop’s Jayride is the e-commerce marketplace for traveler transportation

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Every traveler is different and every trip is different. There’s no one ground transportation solution to fit everyone. Where do you go to find the best solution for you?

Rod Bishop is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Jayride which provides seamless transport experiences for travelers by allowing them to compare and book ground transfers around the world.

Jayride reimagines ground transportation by offering an e-commerce marketplace solution for travelers where they can comparison shop just like they do for flights and hotels.

Rod Bishop

Rod Bishop


Rod Bishop is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Jayride which provides seamless transport experiences for travelers by allowing them to compare and book ground transfers around the world.


Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. I usually, Rod, do it from an office in San Francisco, really comfortable. I got my whole setup, double monitor, everything. You say something or our guest says something. I could research them in real time. Nobody knows it. It’s great. It’s comfortable.

The problem is I don’t get to see a lot of companies that are outside the U.S., specifically Australia. I feel like Australia and Asia are really tough because of the time zone for me. And so I decided this year, I’m going to get on a plane and I’m going to travel all over the world and do interviews everywhere. And I’m here in Sydney, because when I was thinking where in Australia to go do interviews, the top place seems to be Sydney. I kept hearing that. Is that right? Is this where the startup ecosystem is?

Rod: Yeah, absolutely. I’m excited to see you here. Thanks for coming down under.

Andrew: Thanks. Am I allowed to say mate and down under?

Rod: Absolutely.

Andrew: Really? Okay, good.

Rod: Yeah, we’ll give you a dictionary of slang terms if you want.

Andrew: You know, I said, “G’day mate,” to the person who picked us up and my wife just looked at me rolled her eyes and I said, “Maybe it’s just not right.” Can I say, “G’day”?

Rod: Go ahead.

Andrew: All right. Is it weird if I do it?

Rod: No.

Andrew: No? All right. So Rod who we just heard is Rod Bishop. He runs a company called Jayride. It’s a service that allows travelers to compare airport transportation prices and book their travel online. So if I wanted to get to the hotel from the airport, I could have gone to, booked a flight . . . well, booked the flight on my own, then gone to Jayride, gotten a ride scheduled for me.

Rod: Yeah. So the way that we think about the world is that you’ve got travelers always looking to go to different places. Every traveler is different. Every trip is different. There’s no one solution for everyone that can take you for example on a business meeting downtown or with you and seven mates and all your skis from, I don’t know, Denver Airport to Breckenridge or somewhere like this. So every trip is different. Every traveler is different.

And the funny thing about transport is it’s such a fragmented mess. If you’re really stuck trying to get somewhere, you’ve got literally no way to find out what’s good in destination, what’s good, what’s got great reviews, what’s really working for travelers. So e-commerce marketplaces, these things exist for flights, for hotels. We’re bringing the same sort of comparison and choice, essentially reimagining rides for travelers.

Andrew: And still, the person listening to us has got a big doubt in their heads, and I’m going to address it in a moment.

Rod: Go right ahead.

Andrew: But first I’m going to say this interview is sponsored by two phenomenal companies. The first will host your website right, it’s called HostGator. And the second will help you hire phenomenal developers, it’s called Toptal. I took an Uber. Actually I tried to take an Uber, they saw that I brought my two kids with me and one of them was underage. They said, “No, we can’t do it.” I then had to take a taxi and I ended up with one of these tank like taxi vans that picked me up. There’s a lot of options. Most people don’t they come off an airplane and then either stick their hand out or wait in line or call one of the ride handling companies? No?

Rod: There’s heaps of options in transport. First thing to level set just how big this opportunity is. Transport is one of those massive spaces. It’s very hard to see sometimes the wood for the trees. If you think just about airport transfers, there’s 7.7 billion trips to and from airports around the world. Ground transport, they extend from airports around the world every year, 7.7 billion. And the chances that all of those are going to be smooth and [taxiable 00:03:20] at the last minute in your language and your currency with an app you’ve got installed, you know, the more you travel, the more you find edge cases where you just can’t get sorted. We might have maybe a couple of years ago taken the view that there will be a global dominant ride hailing brand that works everywhere but these days it’s kind of not true.

You know, you’re going to Singapore, you need to use Grab, you’re going to Russia, you’re going to Europe, you’re going to wherever it is, there’s a different ride handling company that’s the best local ride in market. And that’s quite besides looking for something special like a shared bus long distance to a ski resort or to a beach resort. You know, you don’t necessarily want to take a taxi on an hour and a half journey. So if you’re traveling, maybe with underage kids, or maybe just someplace awkward or with skis or bags, you know, how do you find what’s really good? You know, how do you read reviews and know what’s best in market? If I’m going to L.A. right now, for example, you know, which is better for me if I’ve got neither installed? Uber, Lyft, Curb, something else?

Andrew: But I already have them installed. We all do. If we’re going from . . . I just saw your eyes blink like you don’t get it.

Rod: Yeah, I got you.

Andrew: Like, “Andrew is not picking up,” and I’m not picking up on it. Give me like an example that’s more typical. Because I do feel like if I traveled to L.A. or any city, the first thing I do when I come out is I pull up whatever app I have on my phone. If I don’t have an app, I might just look around to see what other people are using and then . . . no, I’d probably never take a taxi. What’s a more typical situation? Like when you’re talking about going skiing, that seems like one. What’s one that’s more typical?

Rod: I’ll give you a funny story. I was in line actually. I was going to L.A. for Focus Ride Conference last year in line at the Virgin check-in counter in Sydney. And the lady in front of me, she had her iPhone out in the App Store. And she was literally, she’d search ride-hail L.A. and she was literally downloading every ride-hailing app that serves L.A. And I said, “What are you doing?” She said, “Well, what I’m going to do is I’m going to download all the apps, then I’m going to request a quote from the airport to my hotel on all the apps, and then I’m going to find out which price is good. And then that’s the one I’m going to use when I’m in L.A.” Now it doesn’t really seem like a super good price discovery experience for traveler.

Andrew: Do you do that?

Rod: So if you were looking for a great experience . . .

Andrew: Can I search thought all the apps on your site?

Rod: When you go to Jayride you can enter from to, number passengers, day time, whenever you’re traveling. And what we’ll do is we’ll price for over 1,000 airports around the world over 3,500 ground transport companies that can take you from absolutely anywhere to anywhere, so that you can find out what’s good. We’re the largest source of reviews on transport companies left by real travelers. So you can read if you want just like when you’re shopping for hotels, 41,000 reviews. Find out which car companies are good and which destinations.

Andrew: My sense was though that most people weren’t doing that. My sense in researching was that people are using booking services to book their flights and then they’re being told, “Well, do you want to rent a car? Do you want ground transportation?” Is that how it works? Is that where you’re getting most of your customers?

Rod: And this is really the big opportunity. If we come back to those 7.7 billion passenger trips, just to think about it for a second, they’ve all got one thing in common. If you’re a traveler going through an airport, you’ve got a relationship with a travel brand. I mean, at least an airline, probably also a hotel, maybe an online travel agency. And if you’re walking up to a taxi rank, then that travel brand has actively let you down. They’ve said, “Here’s your flight. Here’s your hotel. Good luck.” And you end up spending 45 minutes waiting in line for a taxi or trying to download the local ride hailing app on the patchy airport Wi-Fi.

They’ve actively let you down, right? This is them saying to you the traveler, “You weren’t special enough for us to try to really sort you out door to door.” Long-term, I can’t imagine travelers opting into that experience anymore. If you’ve got a travel brand that’s going to offer you door-to-door seamless travel experience with your flight, your hotel, and your car service all booked and one who isn’t, you’re going to select the one that really takes care of you. So we see long-term, we see the taxi rank disappearing. We see every traveler going seamlessly door to door. So it’s about making that happen.

Andrew: Yeah, it’s kind of interesting. When I landed in Santiago, Chile, which was the last place where I did my marathon. I’m running marathons on all these continents. When I do these interviews, I land, I do interviews, I rest and then I go do a marathon. And I landed and I pulled out the Uber app, and I couldn’t make it work. And I asked the woman, “Well, why is there an issue here?” She said, “We don’t allow it at the airport.” I thought, “Okay, all right. I kind of get it.” Then I finally got an Uber in the city and the guy goes, “Sit up front.” And my Spanish is not great. He goes, “Sit up front. It’s dangerous.” So I pull out the thing, the translator to understand why it’s dangerous. He says, “Someone is going to hit you if you sit in the back or hit me because it’s an Uber and the taxis don’t like over here.” And so I kind of get some of the challenges. Okay, let’s talk revenue. You’re a public company. What’s the revenue?

Rod: So a public company. Important to know we’re listed on the ASX under ticker JAY. We’re doing around about a million dollars in terms of quarterly revenue. That’s our commission, our take. So our TTV is up north of four million. TTV is Total Transaction Value, our gross bookings.

Andrew: That means you get 25% of all dollars that go through system.

Rod: Give or take.

Andrew: Really? Okay. And not profitable yet. I saw that in your filing.

Rod: Getting there certain though. That’s the near term objective is to run this thing at a profit.

Andrew: All right, this interview really is biographical. I want to know how you got here.

Rod: Sure.

Andrew: I’ve got to ask you. The other question that hit me when I was looking at you was it’s basically a penny stock. I thought penny stocks were just for people to go public so they could manipulate stock, so that there isn’t that much to trade, so that one person can send out a bunch of email telling people, “Go buy the shares,” and the shares go pumped up and then they get sold.

Rod: That was a statement. Not a question.

Andrew: Right. Before we started, you saw that and you saw that I was going to ask you about it. And you said, “Well, Andrew, you have to understand the funny marketplace in Australia.” I’d like to understand a little bit.

Rod: Yeah, it’s very different.

Andrew: Yeah. Tell me a little bit about what it’s like here and why you went public.

Rod: Yeah, sure. Well, first of all, just to talk about where we’ve come from. We’re an Australian-based team, and I’m very passionate about doing this in Australia for Australia. The idea of being for me is that it’s really easy and also desirable for me to make a travel tech success story out of Australia. And we’ll talk about the reasons why travel tech succeeds in Australia. These sorts of things. But that is about also aligning all the parties to our marketplace, right? Not just the transport companies and the travel agencies, but the investor audience to getting everyone all aligned and going in the same direction.

So when we look into Australian investment market, what we see is a very different funding profile to what you might be familiar with in the U.S. You’ve got a limited amount of series A but a very spare amount of series B in the private market. When you’re looking to grow something in high tech, that really kind of constrains your options. If you’re looking to put together large, late stage tranches of capital to really grow a thing, you’ve either got to relocate to the U.S or you’ve got to be a publicly listed company. And there are actually really interesting pieces of, should we say, fertile turf, where high tech listed entities can do really well in Australia.

The Australian Stock Exchange is actually quite friendly the tech stock. And when you look to some of the really high performing tech stock, especially when you think about, for example, the bigger end of town like the Webjets or the REAs that’s, these sorts of ecommerce success stories are quite well understood by Australian investors too.

So when people look at Jayride, what they see is they see, “Oh, this is like an early Webjet. You know, I get it. It’s a scaling ecommerce company.” And so there’s a bit of pattern matching that goes on a bit of understanding. And ideally what that does is that allows us once we’ve proven ourselves out and the investor audience really understands the metrics that allows us to continue to grow that story in Australia without having to ship it overseas.

Andrew: Okay, all right. I said this is biographical interview. Let’s get to the biography. Is it a little weird that I greet you at the door, offer you water and then I say, “You know, I’m going to ask you about this whole penny stock thing. You know, I’m going to . . . ” You’re okay with it?

Rod: Yeah, I’m good. It’s good.

Andrew: Let’s talk a little bit about how you came up with the idea. You are going to school in Auckland. And what was that like?

Rod: So living in the north end of Auckland, and it’s quite funny, because Sydneysiders will complain night and day about the public transport in Sydney.

Andrew: Why? What’s the problem here?

Rod: Well, Sydneysiders will tell you that it’s no good because, you know, the trains get crowded. In Auckland there’s really no trains. So if you’re living, for example, in the north end of town, there isn’t a public transport network to speak of or at least not 10 years ago when I was living there. And so what I would end up doing is I lived in the north and I worked in the west and I studied downtown. So I’d end up, going the whole way around the harbor and traffic in a car for three hours in gridlock every single day while trying to work days and study. And it’s just, as you sit there in your car day after day, you realize there’s got to be a better way. And this is the thing that got me initially interested in transport, looking for alternatives to private car ownership.

And as you see the big macro trends that are going on these days, I wasn’t alone in thinking about it. We’ve hit peak car in terms of peak prior car ownership. And we see this whole transition into a mobility as a service economy where people are going to use access to transport rather than ownership of your own private car. One of our newly appointed directors, Andrew Coppin, he says his analysts joke with him. He says, “Why, Andrew, have you got $180,000 worth of prepaid transport sitting in your garage? Can’t you just take [$5,000 00:12:41] around?” So the mentality of young people versus old people is changing. And what you see ultimately as you see then today, car OEMs, you know, manufacturers, whoever it is, who are used to making 30 to 50-year bids, bidding on the demise of individual car ownership and investing in mobility services.

Andrew: I see that.

Rod: And in parallel, you see the movers and the shakers, whether it’s Tesla or, you know, their competitor in China, all talking about launching their own ride hailing services to market. As we see just a very dynamic, interesting thing coming. You know, stuck in traffic 10 years ago in Auckland, we were sitting there thinking . . . I was sitting there thinking, “Well, this is a place that needs smart people to invest time and effort in solving.” And it was always going to be a private enterprise thing and trying to work out how to get private enterprise to really make moves in downtown congestion, make cities better to live in. So that’s where I started committing my time.

Andrew: And did you see that there was a big financial opportunity in it too? Because I always would have thought it’s always going to be government-owned to some degree, and they’re always going to be inefficient, and I can’t solve or compete with them.

Rod: This was where we first started. My very first thing that I did in transport was working with the NZTA through an NGO entity. NZTA is the New Zealand Transport Association, through an NGO called the Ride Sharing Institute. This was back before ride hailing even a verb.

Andrew: I saw this, by the way. Your whole LinkedIn profile seems full of like all these attempts to solve the problem of transportation. So, yes, this was the Ride Sharing Institute? Am I right in 2007 . . .

Rod: Yeah, Right Sharing Institute. That’s right.

Andrew: . . . to 2008 in Auckland, New Zealand and . . .

Rod: And the pitch essentially to local government was you guys you want to solve mobility for your constituents but you’re acting as if you’re a fleet company. You’re putting your own buses on the road. Why don’t you instead look to other locally run services? Why don’t you look to complement the public transport?

Andrew: So instead of paying for another bus that will be on the system that you then have to hire a driver to drive and people to maintain, just take that money and put it into private enterprise?

Rod: Yeah. What can the community do for you that you can do for yourself? How can they complement each other?

Andrew: What did you envision back then?

Rod: You know, years before Uber and Lyft were a model. This was more about carpooling and ride handling. This was about transit lanes for, you know, multiple people and individual vehicles. But it’s all about solving the same problem.

Andrew: I can’t believe I didn’t get a freaking screenshot of the first version of your site. I tried to as I was looking. I must have forgotten to paste it in here, but I’m sure I have it. It was featuring . . . even when we’re talking about Jayride, there are pictures of . . .

Rod: Individual drivers and private rides. Absolutely.

Andrew: Yes. Why are you sitting in the car by yourself and you could have somebody else in? That’s what you were thinking?

Rod: Absolutely. Early days.

Andrew: And so going back even to 2007, long before Jayride, you were saying, “You know, cities, the better approach is not to put more buses on the road but to understand that people are on the road anyway. Let’s match them up with other people. And if we do, you don’t have to pay as much money and it’ll be a better experiences for people?”

Rod: It was less congestion and cities will be built for people to live in rather than have many cars can fit down what road at peak time.

Andrew: Okay. And so I’m seeing here, again, on LinkedIn, from 2007 to 2008, what happened that ended it so quickly for you?

Rod: We had a crack, but at the end of the day running an NGO wasn’t going to solve the problem, and it had to be private enterprise. And so that’s when I started to look for other methods that would work. And the very first thing that I did that bridged transport and travel was a startup that I spun out of my own bedroom called Hitch. The key insight there was a different one. When you broke down the travel industry at the time, TripAdvisor was, you know, the website du jour.

I mean, it still is, but there’s other players too now. But TripAdvisor back then, my God, it was incredible. And essentially, all of TripAdvisor boiled down to two questions. One, “What is there to do in this location?” And two, “How do I get there?” But the funny thing about the how do I get that part is it’s not really well solved for in a forum type setting. People were discussing how to get there. I mean, you’ve got journey planners and trip planning apps, where you can maybe get timetables and these sorts of things are much better for solving that problem.

And so looking in Hitch days about working out how to spin that forum of how to get there into actual trips and trip data. And the funny thing about 2007 when we sat down to try to crack that as a technical note, is that we found that it just wasn’t possible at that time. We had this view that what we could do is we could start to, you know, build a bit of a community and then start to syndicate different types of information about transport and present it to the community. Kind of required a bit of an API economy or an open data economy to exist that we would leverage it. And in 2007, there wasn’t any. And so we essentially said, “That was a nice idea,” and again, parked it for now.

This is all a bit of a run up then to how we got to Jayride because we kept that idea in the back of our head. I had met Ross and we’d worked on that and it we kind of shelved it. It hadn’t gone anywhere.

Andrew: But before we go into it, what was the problem with Hitch? Why didn’t that take off?

Rod: The community aspect was really interesting. But the business model was always going to be to use that community in order to get proper paid services and get transport companies and get transport options there into that community to provide backfill and, yeah.

Andrew: Oh, you weren’t thinking this was only going to be ride sharing where somebody gets into a car with you. You thought, “We need buses. We need vans. We need more?”

Rod: Yeah, this is early 2007, 2008. No one had proof that it was going to be a business model in rideshare.

Andrew: I believe that. I don’t believe that somebody would be like that obsessively concerned with traffic. Like you were even willing to be at an NGO meaning non-government organization making no money for this. Even as you watched other tech entrepreneurs take off, you’d say, “You know what? I’m okay. I just need to solve this problem.”

Rod: Interesting problem. Big problem. People lose sight of the size of this problem. Here’s a fun one. Every single person in Australia takes three trips every day.

Andrew: What are the three trips?

Rod: Just in general on average. Trips to work, trips to visit friends. These sorts of things.

Andrew: Three a day?

Rod: Trips around town, three a day. Every single person in Australia. Three a day. So we’re talking 30 billion to 40 billion trips a year. We’re talking $130 billion spent every year just kind of going places. One country.

Andrew: Okay. And you’re saying there’s got to be a better way.

Rod: It’s got to be a better way.

Andrew: You know, I’m totally with you, by the way. I 100%. I feel also it’s being stuck in a car driving yourself is such a painful way to start the day. I couldn’t imagine doing it. For me, even though it takes me a little bit longer to get to work, I ride a bike. And the cities put these electric bikes, San Francisco did, which I used to make fun of, “Who needs an electric bike?” It’s faster than anything else. It’s more fun than anything else. And I feel happier when I arrive. And it opened me up to the idea that there are other better ways, ways that I would have either ignored or made fun of before, but they’re way better than being stuck in a car. And the idea of Uber saving San Francisco or many cities, I don’t think that’s the answer. It takes forever for the Uber to get here or to pick you up. You’re stuck in traffic. It’s not the answer. And there are more of those cars on the road.

Rod: Now imagine that viewpoint is kind of representative of not just you and I but a whole bunch of other people. Now imagine your Daimler or BMW and you know that that viewpoint it’s going to get stronger and stronger over the next 20, 30, 50 years and you’ve got a plan your production pipeline that far out.

Andrew: And you know what? And partway that I’m seeing it is I see Cruise cars, you know, all through San Francisco and . . .

Rod: And they’re self-driving yet?

Andrew: No, they’re not. They’re not.

Rod: They’re on the way.

Andrew: They’re always on the way. It’s always almost there. But God knows they’re driving endlessly. They even like I took my kids to some kind of festival or something. The Cruise people gave them Frisbees. They’re participating. We’re not there yet, but I at least see that General Motors is thinking, “What’s the future of you owning a car that you drive and then you leave in your garage?” And the next day you leave at the parking lot of your office.

Rod: Daimler and BMW recently put together $1 billion into a joint venture to look at exactly new mobility. That’s betting on the demise of the private car ownership model 30 to 50 years out. It’s an exciting place to be.

Andrew: Right. I’m going to talk about my first sponsor, and then we’ll get back into the story. My first sponsor is a company called HostGator for hosting websites. Do you remember the first website you ever hosted?

Rod: Oh, geez, goes back a few years. Sure.

Andrew: What was it?

Rod: It would have been a precursor to Hitch. It would have been something in the Ride Sharing Institute.

Andrew: Of course, I should have known. Wow, mine was an email . . . No, I know what it was. Again, we’re both on like a lifelong track here. My first one was I believe I was going to start a company called . . . oh, I can’t think of a name, but it was like an inspirational magazine full of stories of successful people. And I tried writing it myself and I couldn’t do it and then I went and I tried to hire writers but I was a nobody who couldn’t get the writers that I wanted to work with me. Meanwhile, my brother was doing this online thing and I said, “You know, let me just go full in online with my brother instead of trying to do a magazine.”

I thought a magazine would make sense because people would pay for a magazine and I thought I could cold calling it, but anyway. It does kind of feel nice to go back and see the old websites. I will say this, for anyone out there who’s got an idea for a website, there’s nothing like actually just putting it online. Just going to . . . you can go to a different competitor to HostGator. It doesn’t matter to me. I like HostGator because it’s super simple, inexpensive. One click install of WordPress, your website is up and running. And you get to play around with it and see if it has legs. And if it has legs, you go with it and keep growing. And if it doesn’t, shut it down, you move on.

My sense, though, was having started it, that just by getting started, just by having that idea for a magazine, I was closer to coming up with the idea even if that wasn’t an idea, just putting it out there and seeing what happens and seeing that it’s not so hard to put a website together, seeing that it’s not so hard to make calls and seeing that I’m not dead when a writer rejects me. So if you’re out there listening to me and you have an idea for a website, just go to They’ll give you the lowest price out there for a website. And one click install WordPress. So many other features that . . . I’m just going to leave it to you to go see it

All I’ll tell you is we got the lowest price out there. This service works beautifully well. You’re going to set it and you’re going to forget about it and you’re going to be working on your business instead of focusing on hosting. HostGator, thanks for sponsoring. This might be the only sponsorship message where the guy goes, “I don’t care who you use. Using even the competitor is fine.” They’re a good company so I’m confident that if people go and shop around, they’ll be happy with HostGator.

So you’re starting to say the transition, it was Hitch and then . . . tell me a little bit about before we go into Jayride, what’s this thing in your LinkedIn profile between Hitch and Jayride? What’s Navigo?

Rod: Sure. So Navigo is a enterprise B2B SaaS focused on human resources and human resources tech. Essentially it was, you know, you do too many founder positions and all of a sudden you need to make a cash flow again. So there was a need to kind of get a job there. This was kind of going into the GFC and it’s thinking about funding landscapes and these sort of things.

Andrew: What’s GFC?

Rod: The global financial crisis.

Andrew: Oh, yeah, you guys always that.

Rod: It happened about 2008.

Andrew: Yeah.

Rod: You might remember it.

Andrew: You guys always use the three letters. We never do. We just say the Great Recession.

Rod: Super good.

Andrew: Did you guys feel it here in Australia? It seems like you didn’t as much as the rest of the world.

Rod: No, not so much. Australia, we call it the lucky country, right, because we’ve had pretty good economic success for years now.

Andrew: Twenty five years about?

Rod: Yeah, or two.

Andrew: Yeah. And so how did it impact you?

Rod: It was really good opportunity to leverage, you know, the digital skills that I got into something that was actually money making and profitable and, you know, to really build, I guess, some real good expertise in terms of going out and doing B2B sales. We were into Jayride landscape. We’ve got a variety of different parties, stakeholders, the company and many of them have businesses and they really want to know what’s in it for them. And so with Navigo, this was a good opportunity for me in terms of my journey to work out how to pitch sometimes very complicated concepts in a very easy way that really cracks the [WIIFM 00:24:41], the what’s in it for them on the head.

Andrew: Do you have an example of something that you did that way, Rod?

Rod: Jayride story or maybe something from Navigo?

Andrew: Maybe something from Navigo. Something that shows how you were selling. I’d love to learn a little bit about that process.

Rod: So marketing was a feeder to sales in that company and our job was to build and cultivate warm leads. And we needed to do all sorts of profiling in terms of understanding, you know, what was going to go on inside the company in order to work out of our software would be a really good fit. But you can’t just call up the head of HR in an organization that’s got a 500 to 10,000 head count and say, “You know, I’d like to talk about your problems,” because they’re too busy, right? They’re not interested. So we had to work out how to add enough value in that first transaction, that first intro, that we could then profile them properly and understand more about them. And so that’s how the HR Tech Report was born.

I created this concept where we had an outbound calling team call into human resources technology departments and essentially asked that state, we would say, “We’re creating the first ever in Australia proper research project on the basis of your human resources technology. We’d like to know all about your HR tech and in return, we’re going to anonymize that data and then give you a report that benchmarks you against the rest of Australia which can help you build business cases for how to get your take up to date and these sorts of things.” And HR departments saw my pitch was a bit off there because it’s been a while since I did that one.

Andrew: I’m with you though.

Rod: But HR departments would say, “Oh, that’s great, you know, because I’m always looking for material to support business cases to get more funding, to get more tech.”

Andrew: And so they’d be open with you.

Rod: A hundred percent.

Andrew: Really? Okay. I get that then what you do is you put out a report which you then get back to them and to the rest of the industry. It raise awareness for you. Can you go back to the people who gave you those answers and start to talk about sales?

Rod: And we were very transparent about it. This HR Tech Report is being run by Navigo and Navigo has a variety of HR tech solutions. And if you’re interested, we can also talk to you about those.

Andrew: And they’d be open to that?

Rod: Sure.

Andrew: Wow. Okay.

Rod: So we were able to lead with value. We were able to create something. What’s in it for them immediately that they’re able to then get some traction out of. It’s just a great way of thinking about business to business. Really lead with value and try to help people out.

Andrew: I’m seeing that this report approach works really well with business to business too. Where did you come up with that idea?

Rod: We just created it. It was clear there was a gap and there was no authority, there was no thought leader. So we throw our hat in the ring and we tried to make it us. And then years later, the HR Tech Report is still going in annual report in Australia, on human resource technology. And Navigo turned HR Tech Report or the HR tech research piece into a fundamental part of their business.

Andrew: You know, I remember, as an entrepreneur being at a point where I just couldn’t make things work. I couldn’t grow beyond a certain point. I went out and I got a job. A guy named Paul [Savior 00:27:23]. He was ambitious. He was driven. He was the kind of person that I wanted to be. And it revitalized me. It gave me confidence back in myself because he told me specifically what I needed to get done and I could get it done faster or something and I could amaze him. It was very encouraging. Did you feel that too? Did you feel a sense of regaining your strength by working at Navigo?

Rod: Certainly. Yeah, it was a great team, great credentials, great opportunity to learn a whole bunch of different fields and subject matter that I didn’t previously know. And then also in parallel to that, while I was there, the world kind of moved in terms of how transport tech was working and the things that we were waiting for, for all those years started to catch up to us. You started to see proper ride hailing models come to market. But the real thing that shifted in 2011 was you started to see for the very first time transport information being sent around the world in structured formatted ways.

Andrew: What do you mean?

Rod: So we were there in 2007, ’08, essentially looking for some transport information that was structured that we could consume that we could pass on to our travelers. We saw that it didn’t exist and so we shelved the business idea.

Andrew: Because you want to know . . . what? Give me an example of something you want to know?

Rod: What buses and trains and ferries go where at what times, as an example.

Andrew: Got it. Right. And you want to be able to pull that and back then the only thing you could do is to scrape and a lot of those websites were very impressed with how they could put a big image on the site, which you can’t scrape, right?

Rod: Yeah, it wasn’t super good. It wasn’t super friendly. It wasn’t like a data-driven economy. Funny thing, Google tried the same thing at about the same time. Whereas we had to give up Google’s Google. And so what they did is they created a whole brand new data ecosystem. They created a standard GTFS. Originally, the Google Transit Feed Specification, and then spent tens or hundreds of millions of dollars petitioning to state transit agencies all around the world that they should syndicate their information into this format. Why? Because they had the same problem we did. They had a mapping platform, Google Maps. They knew that people wanted to go there for directions. They wanted to present transit timetables. They had no way to get it. So they created the whole data ecosystem in order to solve that problem.

Andrew: And because they needed it, and you had it too.

Rod: Yeah, that’s right.

Andrew: And then what were you thinking of doing with it at Jayride? This is when you were starting to think, “All right, it’s time for me to get back into entrepreneurship. Time for me to solve this problem.”

Rod: Yeah, that’s right. They’ve been waiting for however many years for this problem to be solvable. And in 2011, we saw this thing coming. So the opportunity, as we saw it was, you know, here we were all those years ago, looking for structured information on transport. Now, 2011 has come around, Google is a champion of this as well and they started to structure some transport information, but it’s still not useful for the traveler. Because, you know, if I’m a traveler, I don’t just want to know what the bus timetable is, I want to transact it. I want to book it. I want to pay for it. At the end of the travel ecosystem, it’s really helpful. I don’t want to be fumbling around in a foreign language in a foreign currency in a new country to try to work out public transport, I want actually everything to be pre-booked, pre-arranged, prepaid for me.

Andrew: You know, the more you talk about it, especially when I go outside my comfort zone, the more I understand. Like Argentina, it turns out there are parts of Argentina where Olivia and I were living where you go on these really fancy buses to go on vacation. But go try to understand the Spanish of these different websites. They are not very tech savvy. So their sites are well intentioned but they’re hard to deal with. And then once you come on, it’s a pleasant experience. They give you wine and they let you watch videos. They have contests. It’s really nice But you’re right, I remember suffering through that. Actually, I remember watching Olivia suffer through that. And that’s what you said, “I’ve got to solve it.”

All right, so let me understand how you understood it. Look at how long it’s taking me in this conversation and even before we start this interview to understand that problem. How did you come across that problem? How did you know that this was going on when frankly, it doesn’t seem like you were doing that much traveling, it doesn’t seem like you were engaged with this that much? Were you?

Rod: TripAdvisor 2007? Looking at literally every second thing discussed on the website was how do I get someplace?

Andrew: And you’re going through and you go, “Look at this person try to figure out how to go from this place to that beautiful place in this foreign city.” And all they’re being given is a set of referrals. Got it. All right. I get it. I’m with you.

Rod: Yeah. So it’s 2011, Google solved the public transport but we . . .

Andrew: I’m sorry to interrupt. I’m just fascinated by how you discovered this problem. Were you going in there at that point to say, “What is the problem? I’m going to understand by looking at TripAdvisor?”

Rod: Just being a traveler.

Andrew: Tell me a little bit about your travel. Like you’re traveling yourself?

Rod: Yeah.

Andrew: How much traveling do you do?

Rod: As a younger person, a couple of backpacking missions that might have been several months each.

Andrew: Okay. Where did you go?

Rod: I’ve been all around Southeast Asia, all around South Asia, six months in India trying to work out how to mitigate on a shoestring budget. These sorts of things.

Andrew: Okay. What kind of navigation? What kind of options did you pick?

Rod: Oh, I mean, local bus because it’s cheapest. I don’t speak the language. I don’t carry the currency. I’m still trying to work it out. These sorts of things.

Andrew: Okay, and where you going on web and looking?

Rod: Yeah. Or asking for, you know, touts on the street to try to get a good deal . . .

Andrew: What’s a tout on the street?

Rod: . . . never quite knowing if you’re going to get ripped off.

Andrew: It’s just some person on the street who does it.

Rod: Yeah.

Andrew: Got it. All right, so your personal experience is and then going on to TripAdvisor . . .

Rod: And using it for the purpose of trying to get around and finding how hard it is in a foreign city to really work this stuff out.

Andrew: The reason I’m so fascinated is so many people I’ve interviewed have talked about how they got their idea by understanding a big pain, a big problem that people experience. The challenge that we and Paul Graham talked about this in relation to Stripe where Stripe was solving the how do I get a customer to pay me problem? It was always a problem for web developers to figure out how to get payment but we all grew blind to it. And Paul Graham called it schlep blindness. And the more I hear other people discover problems, the more I realized, yeah, I did experience it.

But I always thought that people were wrong when they said it was a problem because I thought they must be stupid for not knowing how to solve it, or I must not care enough to know how to solve it. It’s not a problem. It’s my fault or it’s not a problem, it’s just the way the world is. And it’s interesting that you uncovered it in your own experience and then you went online and you start to see other people’s experiences and the combination made you think there’s got to be a better way. All right. Am I wrong to be so fascinated by that?

Rod: No, it’s good. I 100% agree.

Andrew: Okay. And so you saw this, you start to see the data was getting structured. You said, “I have to put what together.” What was your vision?

Rod: GTFS is fantastic for solving for public transport, but it doesn’t help travelers at all. Travelers want to have, for example, door-to-door rides pre-booked, prepaid in advance. These sorts of things. There was still no structure for that. So I got back in touch with Ross, my technical co-founder of Jayride and, you know, we’ve been talking about this idea for years. And I said, “Look, if that many years ago we were looking around for this information and Google solved for some of it, you can bet that there’s going to be an ecosystem of people crop up to try to consume this information, try to make user friendly B2C apps or B2B apps based on that. But there’s still gaps.

There’s gaps for pre-booked. There’s gaps for prepaid. There’s gaps for door to door. There’s gaps for whatever it is. We should try to create the standard the source for those gaps.” And the bet was that if a company a few years from then was out there consuming GTFS because it had all the public transport data and we had a complimentary offering, they had different types of transport, that they’d be interested to pick this up to enhance this as well and that we’d be able to monetize that. So that was the bet in 2011 that led us to start Jayride in 2012. And then, I guess, five years, six years later now, by and large, right?

The example that I would give would be a great local company. They’re based in Melbourne, but if you ever go to Melbourne, you should go see them. Rome2rio. It’s one of the best travel search engines in the world. And what it allows you to do is it allows you to search for travel from your door to some other door in some other country. And it will not only give you the flight, it will also give you all the ground transport. They started at the same time and their business model was to say, “Look, everyone out there is doing flight search, right? It’s commodity, everyone’s got the same product. But what we can do is we can get you door to door by giving you the public transport timetables so that you can find out, oh, you take this bus to the airport and then you take this flight, and you take this train to this resort.”

Andrew: Okay. I get it.

Rod: And so they were there. And they were selling the flight using the ground transport copies to differentiate the sellers. But they couldn’t sell the ground transport. And so we’ve come to them and we’ve said, “Now, we can offer you all of these other ground transport options that are prepaid, fixed price, booked in advance. You can monetize it.”

Andrew: They would show it to you but they couldn’t let you buy it.

Rod: And so now, Jayride is listed on Rome2rio as the provider of shuttles, town cars, these sorts of services around the world. We’re one of their larger transport suppliers, and they’re one of our larger channel partners. And so we really help the traveler together. And so it took about, well, from 2007, when we first thought of this to 2011 when there was any kind of ecosystem to tap into to maybe five, six years later, both us and Rome2rio having good commercial success. Long term journey but it’s worked out.

Andrew: I did notice that they were your number one referral of traffic according to SimilarWeb. And this is the way that I imagine you’re thinking about your business in the medium term and then which is partnerships like this. Someone will go on to some booking site to book something, a hotel and Airbnb, etc. They’re going to need to get there. We will get them there. Am I right?

Rod: Yeah, that’s right.

Andrew: And then in the long-term, I’m imagining you think you don’t need a referral. We’re just going to build up the brand and URL, and people would just go to the site and find it.

Rod: There’s no global transport brand for the traveler today. We might think that maybe certain car companies are kind of more or less global, but they’re not everywhere. And they’re not in every language for every type of customer. They’re not serving every destination. And they’re also only by and large sedans and SUVs. So if you want something else, you typically can’t find it. What would it look like to have an app or an ecosystem or a brand so trustworthy that, you know, you don’t even pre-plan and your wheels touched down literally anywhere on earth.

And every transport option is available for you, no matter where it is, no matter what language you speak, no matter what currency, no matter whether you’re going to short distance, long distance, you need the people move, or whatever it is. We don’t think that any one car company, or anyone ride hailing brand is ever going to do that for the traveler, because travelers aren’t core business for them. But if we build a dedicated travel brand from the ground up that specializes in transport for the traveler, yeah, we think we can solve that [nod 00:00:37:56].

Andrew: And when you say traveler, I always think of any way that we move from place to place makes us travelers, but you’re talking about anything with wheels.

Rod: We’re talking about the travel industry, yeah. We’re talking about you on holiday to Bali trying to get from, you know, Denpasar Airport to some resort. We’re talking about . . .

Andrew: You’re not talking about the airline part of it, just the ground transportation.

Rod: Just the ground transportation.

Andrew: Got it. Okay.

Rod: Yeah.

Andrew: Let me talk about my second sponsor and then we’ll get back into the story. I want to know about how you got Rome2rio. You have a partnership with Expedia?

Rod: Yes, that’s right.

Andrew: I want to know how you get that. Like what is it about your past sales experience at Navigo that allowed you to make these types of deals happen? My second sponsor, though, is a company called Toptal. You guys don’t have a mobile app, right?

Rob: Not yet. No.

Andrew: All right. So imagine, if you decided, “You know what? We need a mobile app.” So you go to your co-founder and you say, “It’s time for us to get things up and running, Ross.” And Ross Lin says, “Okay, we don’t have a team. It’s going to take us a little while to find really good people.” You might say to him, “You know, this guy, Andrew, is a bit of a jerk but his sponsors seem nice. And there’s a company called Toptal that he talked about. And what they do is they’ll help us hire people who’ve already done the type of work we’re looking for. We could bring them in on a part time basis. They can work with you. They get things up and running with you, Ross. And then if you like, you send them away and they can go work on other projects, or you can keep on working with the people on the team that you like, and you want to work with long term.

And the beauty of it is you get the best of the best like Silicon Valley level developers, but they live anywhere they want in the world, which means that you get remote workforce, and because they’ve done the work before, they know how to do it for you. And this is not a long-term forever commitment to them. They’ll slip into your team like they’re part of the team because they will be, and then they’ll slip out whenever you’re ready for them to move on.” That’s what Toptal is about. Now, Ross is going to say, “Great, I’m going to go to” And you’re going to say, “Wait, hang on a second.” Is it Ross? That’s the co-founder’s name, right?

Rod: Yeah.

Andrew: He’s a CTO. You say, “Wait, this guy, Andrew, if we go to, he says we get 80 hours of Toptal developer credit when we pay for the first 80 hours, 80 hours is a lot. That’s like two full work weeks in addition to a no risk trial period. So if it turns out it’s not working for us, we don’t have to pay, but Toptal is still going to pay the developer because they’re not jerks. Andrew is a jerk. They’re nice.” So there it is. Top is in top of your head. Tal as in talent. I’m trying to get a read on you. I’m getting a sense that you’re thinking, “I did this for Iain Dooley. He’s a nice guy. Why does Andrew have to be so confrontational? I’m here to tell him anything he wants. Why does he have to be so confrontational?” Do you feel that?

Rod: I’m having a great time. You’re doing good.

Andrew: Thank you. How did you get all these deals?

Rod: Good story. Good story. When you’re talking about the deals, you’re talking just kind of demand side or all over the place? Because transport companies, they’re important deals to make too.

Andrew: Right, right, right. Let’s talk about it from both sides. Pick the side that you want. I’m really bad at this stuff. I’m good at asking a friend for referral and putting ads online, but I’m not good at this enterprise level sales process. How did you do it?

Rod: So I think the number one thing when you’re building any kind of ecosystem, but most especially marketplaces, because you’ve got so many different parties to a marketplace is always to focus on alignment. Always try to work out what is the one thing that’s in it for all parties? When we looked to what the kind of incumbent behavior that we were replacing in the old travel wholesaler world, you know, the travel agent or travel wholesaler would say, “You know, I need a price for Sydney. You, transport company, what’s your price for Sydney?” But maybe you price my kilometer, right? Or by vehicle, or by destination, or by suburb, or by direction, or by time of day, or tolls.

What’s your one price for Sydney, because I’m, you know, I’ve got all the clout? I’m the big dog here. I need you to comply to my question. Give me one price. So we’ve come up now with something that doesn’t work for both parties because you can’t price that. So you make something up. You say, “Oh, I don’t know, it’s $200.” Later, my traveler of my wholesaler, my traveler either pays too much to go downtown, or is trying to go somewhere miles away, beach resort, something like this. And as a transport company on receiving that job for that price, I say, “I’m not doing that.” You say, “Don’t signed up.”

Andrew: Right, right.

Rod: And so when you haven’t found alignment, when people aren’t talking about the same thing in the same way, all of a sudden bad service outcomes or bad price outcomes, people get ripped off, people get let down. So in terms of working out how to work with each of these parties, it’s really about understanding how they see the world and how to work with them. And when we work with a transport company, the pitch is then very straightforward. “Hey, transport company, we would like to send you bookings from travel agencies all over the world. You need bookings. And it doesn’t even matter how you price or whatever, you just give us your rate card and we’ll work the rest out. We’re not going to change your business model. We’re not going to change the way you operate. We’ve got no particular requirements on you at all other than just give us your rates and we’ll take you global overnight.”

Andrew: Okay.

Rod: And that’s quite compelling as opposed to maybe how a wholesaler might have worked for the transport company. “Oh, you’ve got to have these prices. You’ve got to obey these payment terms,” and so on and so forth. And then similarly, on the demand side of things, like working with large travel agencies. Imagine, you know, you’re a large global travel brand with maybe it’s, for example, Big Red shops all over the place and you’ve got consultants in the shops, and anybody could walk in off the street and request transport anywhere. Without a solution like Jayride, you’ve got to make sure every single frontline staff member understands in every city on earth, which transport company is best.

Andrew: Okay.

Rod: How are they going to remember that? How are they going to work out what system to use when respond in real time and really try to help out their customer? Too hard. Plus then the overhead and head office in terms of maintaining those contracts, negotiating all those rates with all those parties, that’s a heap of cost. It just kind of fell into the too hard basket. So when Jayride then works with them, this is about. look, one stop, one shop, one portal, or one API, everything all in one go. One contract held with us. You need rates anywhere on earth, we’ll get them. You want training, there’s only one thing to train and we’ll do it with you.

Andrew: Okay.

Rod: And so it’s a really compelling proposition.

Andrew: How did you know this was their problem, that this is something they cared about?

Rod: Spend a lot of time on the phone with your customers.

Andrew: You just call them up?

Rod: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Andrew: And nobody wants to talk on the phone. How did you get them to spend time on the phone just telling you what’s going on and why they don’t want to work with other people? And why . . .

Rod: Every single time, your pitch gets better, it gets more compelling, and they’re more inclined to stay on the phone with you.

Andrew: And you just keep doing it? And are you the type of person who mentally remembers, “Here’s what they’ve told me before,” or, “Here’s where I lost them,” or are you someone who needs to write it out?

Rod: My pitch, my sponsor this evening, I’m joking, would be Atlassian and we have a Confluence and we keep notes on everything.

Andrew: And you’re that obsessed?

Rob: Absolutely.

Andrew: Okay.

Rod: Yeah. Very details-oriented. And so what we’ve ended up with now, when we talk about any party, whether it’s a transport company party through our company or a travel agency, a Wiki, essentially of our sales process and contracting processes that have been honed by every team member over the course of the six years we’ve been in business.

Andrew: Oh, okay. And everybody’s disciplined. You have to put it all in the system?

Rod: Yep.

Andrew: And then you have a meeting where you go in and you check out what people have said what the problems that have come up on?

Rod: Yeah. If it works in the country, then maybe it does work in another country. And we have to localize. So yeah, every single thing gets recorded and enhanced and iteratively improved every single day of the week.

Andrew: I feel like we need to get better at that as a company too. There’s the idea that you can put it in there. And then there’s the implementation. And then it takes a long time for the payoff to happen, right? Because if people are putting in a problem, it’s not like the next person you get on a call with you say, “Hey, here’s your problem.” And they say, “Yes, this is wonderful. How did you read my mind?” It takes a little while to sharpen your understanding of it before you get results. But you’re that disciplined. You’ve always been that way?

Rod: It’s just I think about just always focusing on the other party. You know, I mean, some of it is about discipline, but it’s also about empathy. Understanding, you know, what is it that this other person that I’m going to speak to just now? What is it it’s going to get them out of bed tomorrow so excited to be working with me? What is that thing? And then can we talk only to that thing and cut away all the other irrelevancies? Just talk to the one thing that’s going to make you very excited. When you’re doing B2B or even when you’re doing B2C, and to just refining that messaging down to its core essence, the WIIFM, the thing that’s in it for them. And then making sure that everybody’s WIIFMs all line up so that everybody is working together with the same thing in mind.

Andrew: How do you communicate that to the company?

Rod: Onboarding every single team member.

Andrew: You personally?

Rob: Yeah, I’m involved. I do meet every team member we bring on board.

Andrew: Okay.

Rod: But also, just to think about that onboarding, we go through and on day one we actually set a piece of homework. This is kind of part of the onboarding ritual at Jayride. We set a piece of homework. “Go away and find out through talking with other people in the company who are all the stakeholders to the company, be broad, come back with a complete list and tell me what’s in it for them.”

Andrew: And just think through without making calls or anything? They’re welcome to make calls but you’re not obligating them to.

Rod: Meet other internal team members usually is the way to do it. Meet other heads of department, meet other people who interface with customers on the daily. Find out who is the customer and what do they want? Always that question, who is the customer and what do they want?

Andrew: Constantly.

Rod: And then we come back, usually a week after person started and go through. And the funny thing about it is people get quite mired in the detail because you’re starting a new company and you want to learn all the things. And people completely missed the point, usually.

Andrew: Which is?

Rod: Well, for example, you might say, “Our transport companies, what do they want?” They want prompt payment, and they want no time wasters. And they want, you know, our prices to always be right. And they want all this detail. No, no, they want bookings. One word. They want work.

Andrew: And you want them to just get to that one thing.

Rod: The core essence.

Andrew: Because if you get to bookings for them . . .

Rod: Everything else works after that.

Andrew: . . . they’ll deal with you. They’ll tell you, “Hey, this price is not good, or you’re wasting our time,” etc.

Rod: Absolutely.

Andrew: Got it. And you want everyone on the team who gets hired to go and do that. For how many different stakeholders do you have that they would do this for?

Rob: Transport companies, travelers, travel agencies, shareholders, board and directors, and the team themselves.

Andrew: Board and directors too?

Rod: Mm-hmm.

Andrew: Why board and directors?

Rod: Representing shareholders. It’s important to know who they are when they turn up for board meeting. Why are they here? What do they want?

Andrew: Okay.

Rod: Every stakeholder.

Andrew: And then what do you do to maintain that discipline, that culture after people have been waiting for a year or two?

Rod: So we talk now about the structure of the organization. It’s very easy to kind of get lost in terms of the commercial, sometimes. You’re trying to make a buck, you’re trying to make it profitable. It’s a core objective of Jayride to scale profitably around the world. But it’s important when you do that to not lose sight of who your constituents, or your stakeholders are, what it is they want. And so in terms of an org structure of Jayride, we’ve made sure that there’s a team dedicated to taking care of the, you know, the WIIFM, the wants of every stakeholder of the company.

So for transport companies, there’s the transport team. And then the number one concern is what transport companies want. The travel agencies and channel partners. There’s the channel partners team. It’s the number one thing that they turn up every day to take care of the stakeholder. And so necessarily, and that’s interesting, because it creates sometimes internal conflict. One team wants something, one team wants something else, but because they both committed to the user, eventually they find the middle path and they work it out.

Andrew: Alignment is big for you.

Rod: Alignment.

Andrew: I asked you before we started, what’s a win for you? What do you want to make sure that I include? And you said alignment. I go, “Nobody says alignment. Everyone says, ‘Well, we’re hiring,’ or something like that, or, ‘I’ve got a new book coming out.'” Why alignment?

Rod: It’s just one of those things for me, I think, if everybody who’s working with and for your company and that’s not just the team, I mean, that’s the shareholder’s team, the investors, whoever else as well. If everyone always is on the same page, so this is, you know, working for multiple parties in the marketplace, long-term ambition, long-term goal, high growth company, and everyone always shares that ideal, then everybody strikes out on that path together. And they all go the same way. I find that if you end up ever with people out of alignment, that’s where conflicts start to happen.

And so, to me, the thing that makes Jayride so successful is when everyone, whether it’s a transport company, travel agency, team member, or even shareholder, investor, board member, everyone all understands transport is enormous. We’ve done 1% of what it is we want to do. We’re going global. This is happening, and take that five-year view. And when everybody shares that same point of view, then you’re more aligned to go get there. And that’s the thing. That’s the win when you align for that future goal.

Andrew: Okay. And so when you have all these different companies that are sending you potential travelers, each traveler has their own interests. And then the transportation options are sometimes not in alignment because I either take a car or I take a bus or I take a van, right? And the way that you make sure that people stay focused is you say, “Our goal is to just change transportation.” And we’re all working together towards that. And the way we’re doing it better every day, every year is by understanding who our stakeholders are and what’s the one thing that matters most to each one of them.

Rod: Who are our customers and what do they want? Every time.

Andrew: All the time.

Rod: Every time.

Andrew: I feel like we need to do that too. Within the company, we should be clear about . . . shouldn’t just be customers or all stakeholders and what do they want?

Rod: Customer/stakeholder kind of interchangeable. If I’m working with a B2B customer then they’re my customer. You might be working with a different type of customer.

Andrew: So for example, you’re in some way my customer, right? You’re not paying anything, right?

Rob: Yeah, 100%

Andrew: But still, everyone on the team should know what’s the one thing that a guest who’s sitting here with Andrew cares about, right? Am I right about that or am I just being too nicey nice?

Rod: Why am I here? What is the thing that I wanted enough to turn up and, you know, do an interview with Andrew?

Andrew: Why? What is it?

Rob: Well, what do you think? I mean, I’m your customer? Why am I here?

Andrew: So I’m looking for one unifying thing. I don’t have that. So I feel like for each guest, it’s different.

Rod: Okay.

Andrew: And, by the way, I would now that you’re talking about this, I want to do this for other people, too. And I’m almost like my mind is jumping away and I won’t back away from this, but my mind is going to. We have all these partners who are sending us people. We always assume that it’s because they want money. But the money is not changing their business up or down that dramatically. What they want is a good positive relationship with us, which then allows them to feel good that they brought us to their audience, right?

Whether they’re doing affiliate commission or something else, they care about that. We need to have everyone be aware of what that one thing is. Okay, back to guests. Let’s talk about you specifically. My guess is that you . . . partly, it’s to let the business world outside of here know that you exist. Let the San Francisco or U.S. or whatever, even if it’s not physically San Francisco but U.S. mindset of entrepreneurs, investors know we exist. We’re operating different from you. But here’s how what we do matters. Am I right about that?

Rod: I think that if the ecosystem is successful, every company in it is successful.

Andrew: That’s it?

Rod: And I think things like what you do here in terms of getting the success of different regions out to the world, it’s kind of core to attracting investment dollars in terms of building an ecosystem, more successful companies. Success breeds success. Yeah, so I’m here to represent an ecosystem by way of helping the company.

Andrew: Really?

Rod: Absolutely.

Andrew: I know you’re not going to be shocked that I can’t believe that someone would operate that way. I always think there’s much more self interest in the moment. Matt the founder of Freelancer is going to be here in a little bit. The way that I asked him to show up was I said, “My audience is going to need to use your freelancers.” I don’t know that that’s the big thing that’s moving him. It’s not like he’s going, “Yes, the Mixergy audience. All I have to do is just get out of my office and come to wherever Andrew picked.” I don’t know that that’s the answer, but that’s the best I could come up with.

Rod: Ask him why he puts on his startup conference each year and why he invested or acquired Warrior Forum and these sorts of things. I look forward to hearing about it.

Andrew: Because you’re saying he believes in this bigger ecosystem thing too or maybe I’m missing it.

Rod: Maybe.

Andrew: I didn’t realize even he acquired Warrior Forum. Wow, I’m fascinated actually by why he would want to do that. All right. I want to now do this. And then I also am worried, are people going to tell me the thing that’s nice to say versus the real inherent? Like so I’m wondering . . . you’ve opened my eyes to something, sir. All right. I guess we’ll spend some time and I’m going to ask people why did you say to do it. And if I say that you’re the one who brought this up for me, it will feel less like me saying . . . it’ll feel a little more acceptable. All right. How was this interview for you?

Rod: It’s been fun. It’s great to meet you in person. I can’t even remember when I first watched the Mixergy video. It was so many years ago. But I remember you called out the Airbnb founders for having a kind of a map . . .

Andrew: Yeah.

Rod: . . . in behind their bad Skype connection and you talked about attention to detail and you talked about how their designer is. So that was quite formative in the early days. And then also there was, I think, there was a fail week.

Andrew: Yeah. There was.

Rod: I loved that. Because it’s such a success bias in this industry. And so when you can get past that and you can talk about real lessons learned the hard way, that’s exciting too.

Andrew: I think we should do that again. I think that one of the things that I’ve learned from traveling like this is I’m getting to know people more but I’m always getting to know my guests more than . . . there’s a shift in Mixergy. It went from me and my problem to other people like me too they have the same problem to then a shift to, “Hey, these entrepreneurs who I’m interviewing are really interesting and I’m getting to know them and I’m enjoying them. And they’re coming to my house. I’m going to their house. We’re getting to know each other.”

And then I’m forgetting about my audience and I’m forgetting about myself . . . not forgetting, but I need to go back and pay more attention. And if I could squeeze one more thing into these trips and I can’t, it would be meetup. Even if it’s just one on one for scotch. So Iain and I are going to go out probably for a walk. I don’t know that he’s a big scotch person. And we’re going to hang out and I’m going to get to know him. But I need to do more meetups and get reconnected with the audience. The fail week came from that. It was for me failing. I’m glad you reminded me of it. It came from the audience saying, “We failed. These guys . . . we’re doing the same thing. You’re telling me that is because they did this one thing? Well, I did it too.” All right. I feel like I want to hug you now. It’s been great.

Rod: Exciting, Andrew.

Andrew: All right. Thanks so much for doing this interview. For anyone who wants to go check out your website, is the best way to go just to

Rod:, yep. And on the ASX:JAY.

Andrew: Okay. And ASX is the stock market. And I want to thank the two sponsors who made this interview happen. The first will host your website right . . . I hate that we can hear the siren out there. It’s called HostGator. Check them out at And the second will help you hire phenomenal developers, it’s called Toptal. Check them out at I’m saying it loud because I’m kind of like an anal guy who has to have every detail setup, which is why I like the interviews in my office. And it’s a little bit challenging for me to be in a new space where the location is a little bit off where where’s the coffee? How do we make sure the audio is fine. But I feel like I need that.

Rod: It’s been great. Exciting to meet you. Thanks for making the time.

Andrew: All right. Thanks so much for doing. Thank you.

Rod: Cheers, mate.

Andrew: Bye, everyone.

Who should we feature on Mixergy? Let us know who you think would make a great interviewee.